FORT WORTH, Texas — There’s no longer a gray area where the C-posts on the Sprint Cup car on concerned.
The area of the car that earned Jimmie Johnson and his team severe penalties at Daytona–sanctions that were largely overturned on appeal–now will be covered by a new template that NASCAR will introduce for the May 6 Cup event at Talladega.
Beyond that, the new template will be incorporated into NASCAR’s inspection process for all races.
The C-posts on Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet failed opening-day inspection at Daytona, having been shaped in a way NASCAR felt might give the car an aerodynamic advantage. The sanctioning body subsequently fined crew chief Chad Knaus $100,000, suspended him and car chief Ron Malec for six races each and docked Johnson 25 championship points and car owner-of-record Jeff Gordon 25 owner points.
All but the fine and probation for Knaus and Malec were overturned on appeal by NASCAR’s chief appellate officer, John Middlebrook.
Johnson maintained that Middlebrook’s ruling showed that the offending C-posts (which connect the back of the roof to the rear deck lid) were legal. NASCAR president Mike Helton took the opposite tack, citing the upholding of the fine as proof that the inspectors did their jobs correctly.
Now there won’t be an issue, with the introduction of a template that covers the area in question. To Johnson, it’s something of a mixed blessing, though he’s in favor of the change.
“I’m very happy to hear there will not be a gray area there, but it does take away opportunities to work on the race car,” Johnson said. “But that’s been a reality we’ve been faced with; especially crew chiefs have been faced with for quite some time now. I’m absolutely happy to hear there is going to be (a template) there.”